Friday, June 15, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 9: Nodding Head & Hawthornes

Finally, the last day of Philly Beer Week. Well, my last day at least. Others went out Sunday too. I was really excited for this Saturday from the beginning of beer week as the Dark Horse event at Hawthornes last year was one of my favorites. Adding the Nodding Head Second Saturday event on top of it just increased my excitement.

Starting off the day was the Second Saturday event at Nodding Head. This event was named Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful and consisted of a couple sours and couple variations of Crosby Tears. I started with a glass of Phreddie, a sour tripel.
Lightly tart nose with hints of the base tripel. Light sweetness started it then sour and a hint of bitter hops finished the sip. As I drank more, a nice caramel mixed with the sourness and the whole thing came together pretty well. Nice wild though I wish it had been a little more sour than it was.

After that I got a glass of the Phunkywine, a sour american barleywine.
In this one, the base barleywine actually shined through quite a bit. It had a hoppy, earthy nose with only a slight hint of sourness. The body was hops, caramel and some sour apple flavor. Some more slight bitterness in the aftertaste. Interesting that the hops were still quite prevalent even after the aging and it made for a different flavor combination in a sour than usual. Jo had gotten the third sour, George's Phunk, and we both agreed it was the best of the three. Best level of sourness with a good base beer.

And, finally, I knew I had to order the Icy Tears, an iced version of Crosby Tears before I left just because.
Bready, sweet nose. Syrup sweet start then bread and a kind of sharp note, probably from the alcohol though I don't know how strong it was. Since the base was around 7.8%, it was probably at least over 10. I sort of got used to the alcohol as I drank more but it is quite prevalent the whole time. Not super surprising considering it's an iced beer but it still bears mentioned. I think someone else thought it tasted like jet fuel so take that as you will.

And that was Nodding Head. Shorter visit than I usually do for Second Saturday but I had places to be and other beers to drink. The interesting news I found out (which has already been announced at this point) is that Nodding Head's brewer, Mike Fava, is moving to Maine to brew at Oxbow brewing. I liked talking to Mike and he's talented so it's sad that he won't be at Nodding Head anymore but I wish him well. Hope to see the Oxbow beers in Philly at some point and then he can visit during beer week! One minor coincidence is that the equipment Oxbow bought was actually owned by Mike at one point so it's nice that he'll finally be able to use it.

Time to head on to Hawthornes for Dark Horse. I expected it to be quite busy as the event started at 5pm and that's about when we arrived, but there were still plenty of tables. Score! We sat and I quickly ordered a Bourbon Plead the Fifth, an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels.
This was one of the best beers I had in 2010 and so I was a little nervous having it again after all this time. Well, I shouldn't have been worried at all as it was amazing. Smoothest nose ever. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Super complex. A thick body followed with more bourbon, chocolate and vanilla. Absolutely no burn or alcohol either. Just amazing and an incredibly well crafted bourbon stout.

Next I got the Bourbon Barrel Sarsaparilla 666 Stout, basically a bourbon root beer stout.
This one was more weird than anything. Minty, root beer nose. I don't know if you've had sarsaparilla but I think it basically smelled like that. Jo thought it smelled sort of medicinal as did someone else. I actually liked it though it was ultra minty with a bit of vanilla in it. Basically it reminded me of mint and licorice or a spicy root beer. Not what you'd normally expect from a stout, but it mostly worked for me.

I drank another glass of Bourbon Plead the Fifth after that because why not right? Seemed like a theme for the week where I actually drank multiple glasses of awesome stuff for once. Makes sense though since when will I have them again? In a year maybe? Totally worth it.

I finished up the night with a glass of Smells like Weed, some sort of IPA.
Okay, this is going to sound like a ridiculous complaint but if you name a beer Smells like Weed, shouldn't it smell like weed? There are hops available to do that! Just check out Founders Devil Dancer! Oh well, I can deal with false advertising if the beer is good and this one actually was. Nice grapefruit nose followed by a delicious grapefruit and sweet body. Very enjoyable IPA though I'll admit I couldn't drink the whole thing since by that point I was pretty drunk from my two Plead the Fifths and, well, all the other beers.

And so Philly Beer Week came to an end with me falling asleep on the couch for an hour.
Such a long week! I'm so glad that the Bourbon Plead the Fifth was as good as I remember and the Hawthornes event was as great as last year. As usual, the Nodding Head event was quite fun as well.

This is my last beer week post so I'll recap a little. This year's beer week was just awesome for Jo and I. We counted and went to 19 different bars and I drank around 45 or so unique beers plus a couple repeats. I know the week is a ton of work for bartenders, owners, waiters, etc, but as a participant it is a whirlwind week of awesome beer, packed events, and meeting tons of great people. Can't wait until next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment